On April 4th, 56 BCE, Cicero delivered his defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus before an unusually large crowd in the Roman forum, and it was probably published soon afterwards. It was a sparkling performance, and the speech as it survives is considered one of Cicero’s finest. Quintilian, the celebrated rhetorician and teacher of rhetoric, writing around a century and a half later, cites the oration twenty-odd times in appreciation of its strategies, its figures of speech and its prose rhythms.
Caelius had been accused of some manner of crime against the property of a woman called Palla, causing a civil disturbance in Naples, assaulting ambassadors from Alexandria in Puteoli (Pozzuoli), the murder of the chief ambassador (the …
Hillard, Thomas Wilfred. "Pro Caelio". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=20494, accessed 10 December 2016.]